How to use light to improve your sleep

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With World Sleep Day on 15th March, I thought it would be a great time to talk about sleep and specifically about how light can help with sleep – especially now lighter mornings are coming. I read about a study where people who got light in the morning had significantly better sleep that evening.

What could the connection be?

It’s about circadian rhythm, which is dictated by light. If we start when you go to bed, ideally your room should be a little bit colder than you are, so almost a bit cool when you walk in. No LEDs, no devices charging up – so there’s a relatively low EMF (electromagnetic field) and isn’t a lot of energy around you. Try and have blinds which black out most of the room, or curtains which do the same thing. I love to put an eye mask on as it really gives me that sensory deprivation feeling.

You go to bed sleeping in a cool room and sleeping in dark so in the morning, as soon as you wake up, and you’re ready to get up, get those blinds open, curtains apart, and get light on the retina as quickly as you possibly can.

There is a hack for this – it’s a device called the Human Charger. The inventors of this realised that there are photoreceptors in the ear canal, as well as on the eyes and on the skin. We can take in light through those two means, plus the ear canal. The device plugs into the ears and shines light for 12 minutes, and essentially, it simulates natural light so that the brain thinks it’s day time. You can check them out here: humancharger (we have no affiliation with them or discount code, but if you’re interested in this device, take a look).

This particular study that looked at the effect of light in the morning found that people were less depressed when they got light first thing in the morning – that just shows how important it can be.

My take away for you would be to consider what your environment looks like;
Is it cool? Is it dark? Are there very minimal electronics in there – nothing charging, no lights flashing? Is it quite a soothing, calming recovery promoting environment? And then in the morning – get up, gently move your body. Most importantly, get access to that natural light, looking out the window, as quickly as you possibly can.

And if you can’t do that, hack it. Look for something like the human charger – it’s going to affect your mood and give you really good energy and will set you up for the day, and of course, will promote good sleep the night afterwards.

If you’re really interested in sleep, check out a podcast by Dr. Greg Potter on the Remove the Guesswork show.

You can listen to the full podcast episode here:
The Links Between Sleep and Body Composition: The Secret to Unlocking Weight Loss with Sleep Scientist Dr. Greg Potter

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit www.bodyshotperformance.com or email info@bodyshotperformance.com to register your interest in our services and connect with us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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